Archive for May, 2007
See why it’s such a good thing that alcohol it haram:
Australia battles rise in alcohol abuse
By Phil Mercer
BBC News, Sydney
Alcohol increasingly has Australia in its poisonous grip.
One in eight Australians drink at dangerous levels. The effects on long-term health are likely to be catastrophic.
Australia has always had a boozy reputation but excessive drinking is on the rise.
Doctors are warning of a surge in chronic diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver and cancers as well as brain disorders in the next 20 years.
“Unfortunately Australia has a massive alcohol drinking problem,” said Associate Professor Gordian Fulde from Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.
“It’s our culture, our society accepts it and in some ways society encourages it.”
“Alcohol leaves all the other drugs – heroin, ecstasy, ice (methamphetamine) – absolutely for dead,” he told the BBC.
“They’re minute compared to problems caused by alcohol drinking.”
‘Out of control’
On average about 10 Australians die every day as a result of alcohol consumption.
It is a health calamity that affects the lives of so many.
The Australian National Council on Drugs has found that 230,000 children have a parent or carer who drinks excessively.
“I think what’s happened here (is) it’s a reflection of our prosperity, in the sense that there’s more money that is available for drinking alcohol,” said the council’s chairman Doctor John Herron, who pointed out that the cost of beer, wine and spirits has also gone down.
Research has shown that those families with alcohol problems are also commonly affected by mental illness as well as physical and sexual abuse.
Australia’s indigenous population is suffering more than any other group.
Black Australians are twice as likely to die from the effects of drinking as their non-Aboriginal counterparts. A recent report showed that alcohol misuse claims the life of an Aborigine every 38 hours.
Suicide is the greatest cause of death among intoxicated men, while many women die of liver cirrhosis or strokes.
Some have managed to conquer their demons, but those dark days of the past are never far from the surface.
“I’m compulsive, I’m out of control when I’m drinking,” said Les Beckett, a middle-aged Aboriginal man from Queensland. “I’m a nasty piece of work when I’m drinking and I’m a sorry piece of work and dangerous.”
Les admitted to beating his late wife and stealing from his children during his alcoholic years. Les has remained sober for the past two decades but staying on the straight and narrow is a constant battle.
There is a feeling that Aborigines turn to booze and other drugs because they feel left behind by mainstream society more than two centuries after European colonisation.
“To understand alcohol abuse, we need to look at the ways in which our people have been treated over the last 200 years,” explained indigenous Pastor Ray Minniecon.
“Most of this stuff is just a broken spirit of the Aboriginal people… and alcohol abuse becomes a substitute for the spirit that we’d like to have.”
Beer and wine have been outlawed in some ‘dry’ indigenous communities but for many the cravings remain irresistible.
Despite the gloom – and there is plenty of that – there is hope that things will one day improve.
“There’s a strong capacity in our people to make sure we survive,” said Ray Minniecon. “We don’t know how we’re going to eradicate it (the abuse of alcohol) but we can heal ourselves through our own culture which makes our spirit strong.”
Australians – both black and white – are increasingly hitting the bottle.
Binge drinking has emerged as the real menace. Those who have to pick up the pieces say the situation is out of control and getting worse.
“The thing that is very scary is that females – especially young females – have now adopted and may be even improving on male drinking habits,” said Gordian Fulde.
“Alcohol is a poison. It rots your brain. It is just absolute social suicide,” he said grimly.
Source: BBC News
Coping with death on the web
By Patrick Jackson
It increasingly acts as an outlet for mourning in developed societies but how far can the internet intrude on a very private experience?
Some may regard the idea of messaging condolences to someone electronically as inappropriate but to those growing up on Facebook and MySpace it is becoming second nature.
When sudden, violent death visits a college or school as it did at Virginia Tech on 16 April, it can turn social networking sites into channels of breaking news, and transform personal pages into makeshift memorials.
Facebook criticised journalists for violating the privacy of its users’ profiles and memorial sites to glean information about the massacre.
Responses to the fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old schoolboy in Vancouver, Canada, this month prompted different concerns.
Among the Facebook memorials was a forum which named and discussed the chief suspect, a juvenile, just as police were withholding details for legal reasons.
Just how private are the personal spaces of the social networking sites when tragedy strikes?
Privacy through obscurity
“This idea that if you set up a memorial site within Facebook it will be private is a bit of a misconception,” says Alfred Hermida, journalism professor at the School of Journalism of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
“A lot of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are almost seen by their members as ‘their space’ but they are actually very public forums,” he told the BBC News website.
When Facebook launched three years ago, it was a site only college students could join but it is “now essentially open to anybody with an e-mail account”, he notes.
It and other social networking sites are private spaces only as long as their users are not making the news themselves – on the principle of “privacy through obscurity”.
“But when something like Virginia Tech happens, you will have information professionals going in to forage and they will find you and you will be propelled into the foreground,” Prof Hermida says.
For adolescents, he adds, social networking websites have become “almost like the new playground” but they often fail to appreciate the legal issues involved in an event like the Vancouver stabbing.
“Instead of going to the shopping mall or the gaming arcade they will go online and will say things there as if they are chatting in the playground with friends,” he says.
“But once you have written down something online, that actually has legal repercussions beyond just you and your friends on that forum.”
Since its launch in March, the website iraqmemorial.org has provided a platform for relatives or loved ones of US soldiers killed in Iraq to talk to camera about their bereavement.
They appear as one-minute talking heads, and their intimate recollections of people killed in action or driven to suicide by their experiences make for both a poignant online memorial and a powerful anti-war message.
In the aftermath of tragedy, going online to leave a tribute, swap messages or blog about your feelings is a positive emotional factor, according to Prof Douglas Davies, director of the death and life studies centre at Durham University.
“In a crisis situation, action is one of the very few things people have as a coping mechanism and in one sense it almost does not matter what the activity is,” he told the BBC News website.
But he believes that online messages provide weak triggers for emotional response compared with physical interaction.
“That element which we often see at funerals and memorial services would, I suspect, be absent in the privacy of someone’s face-to-face relationship with their monitor,” he says.
As author of A Brief History of Death, Prof Davies has noted the progress of mortality though the internet.
Death, he says, has literally gone online in the form of web cameras installed in crematoria or funeral videos shared with distant relatives in some cultures.
In China, there have been moves to encourage people to remember their dead through internet sites rather than actual grave visits.
Asked if he sees a time when funerals are wholly conducted over the internet, Prof Davies points to the “very clear marginalisation of the dead and of death” in the US, a “society committed to life and living”.
“In some parts of America, they have memorial services rather than actual funerals for the majority of people so there is a sense that the coffin is becoming less visible,” he says.
However, he does not expect immediate family, at least, to stop attending funerals and cremations simply because “people need people at times of crisis”.
“Emotion is as much a product of the social context as it is of the interior, private thoughts of a person, and you need the group to trigger that,” he says.
Meanwhile the internet will continue to act as a valuable tool for communicating grief, the professor says, adding:
“In a world where many people’s lifestyles are related to the internet it would be natural to expect elements of their death-style to be tied up with the web – otherwise life would be so very fragmented for them.”
Source: BBC News
I found this on SufiStication :
A few years ago, a sister had asked Shaykh Abdullah Adhami (may God preserve him) regarding the existence and contributions of female scholars in the in the Islamic tradition, particularly the Qur’anic sciences. In the winter of 2003, Shaykh Abdullah had compiled a list and sent it to a group of us and, with his permission, I am posting it on my blog. It was beneficial for me and I pray it is beneficial for you all as well.
Shaykh Abdullah notes: If you will, I am going to make the topic Qur’anic sciences and not just tafsir (exegesis). Now this, of course, does not mean that every master of Qur’anic sciences among these women had a commentary to her name. When that is the case, I’ll highlight that fact for you. Also, the majority of the work of Muslim scholars, women and men, is narrating on the authority of tradition, as opposed to ‘exegesis’.
(1) The generation of the Sahabiyyat (Companions)
There are, of course, the Mothers of the Believers — and most notable among them is Aisha, (radhiya Allahu ‘anha).
There are also:
* Layla bint ‘Abd-Allah, who was affectionately known as al-Shifaa`, whom the prophet, (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), appointed as a member of (what we might today call) ‘the State Council’, and sought her insight on state affairs. She was also asked to teach women the Qur’an.
* Asmaa` Bint Yazid al-Ansariyyah narrated qira’aat (readings) on the authority of the messenger of Allah, (salla Allahu’alayhi wa sallam).
(2) Among the Tabi’in (Generation after the Companions) there is
* Um al-Dardaa` Juhaymah bint Huyay al-Wassabiyyah (81 h). She is cited in Tabaqat al-qurra` of Imam Abu al-Khayr ibn al-Jazari (832 h). She had majalis (seat of teaching) at the northern wall in the grand mosque of Damascus. She was a premiere authority on Qur’an and hadith. Her work as a commentator survives as narratives in the canonical books of hadith, as well as in the major works of tafsir.
* ‘Amrah bint ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn As’ad ibn Zurarah (98 h). She was a jurist, a hadith authority, and a Reciter. And an eminent student of ‘Aisha (radhiya Allahu ‘anhuma). In the time she had left, she also mothered ten children, and raised each to become a scholar of the deen (religion). Amrah was a major consultant when hadith was compiled during the time of the caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-’Aziz (101 h).
* Hafsah bint Sirin (110 h).
Hafsah became a master of the Qur’an and its qira’at at the age of 12. Her sister, Fatimah, did so before the age of 9. Along with three brothers, Muhammad, Yahya, and Anas, they were one of the most famous scholarly families in Madinah during their time. among them was Hafsah, an eminent authority on Qur’an. Her work survives as narratives in the canonical texts.
* Maymunah bint Abu Ja’far ibn al-Qa’qa’.
There’s casual mention of her in Tabaqat al-Qurra`. She is the daughter of the eighth among the ten famous Qurra` (Reciters) of the Qur’an. She read on the authority of her father, who is the Shaykh of Nafi’, the first among the ten, who is the Shaykh of Imam Malik, (radhiya Allahu ‘anhum). There are numerous others as well. Please understand the importance of what I’ve already shared with you, but you can only put their ‘commentary’, (or, tafsir), in perspective when you understand the introductions that imams of exegesis offered at the beginning of their works, such as the introductions to al-Tashil of ibn Juzay, and al-Bahr al-Muhit of Abu Hayyan.”
The collection Tabaqat al-Mufassirin [Compendium of Exegisists) by Imam al-Suyuti (911 h), as well as the work of his student, al-Dawudi, alphabetically lists scholars of tafsir from the time of the sahabah (companions) until their time (i.e. the tenth century).
However, it is notable that few women are cited therein — though their ‘narratives’ on tafsir, as I just shared with you, are abundant in all the books of hadith, as well as the works of tafsir that came after them. Remember, for instance, that the first ‘major’ work that endeavored to compile everything on tafsir up to its date of writing is the work of Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (310 h.) see al-Tashil and the Tabaqat [Compendium]for works prior to Imam Tabari’s work, Jami’ al-Bayan.
Other Surviving Works
There are other famous female Muslim masters with surviving works, though not necessarily in tafsir or Qur’anic sciences. I am deeply honored to narrate the following very special hadith collections. These are narrative collections by women with their very own isnad (chain of transmission) back to our Beloved Messenger (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
* Karimah bint Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn hatim al-Marwaziyyah (463 h.) She is affectionately known as “mother of the generous.” Karimah is a world renowned authority on Sahih al-Bukhari. Her narration of it is documented to this day on the margins of the classic edition of the sahih that was commissioned by the Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamid.
* Bibi bint ‘abd al-Samad ibn ‘ali al-Harthamiyyah (477 h).
Her juz` of hadith is world renowned for having the highest isnad (chain of transmission) among independent hadith narratives, outside the famous books — and in some instances, actually rivaling their high isnad despite its relative latter time.
* Shuhdah bint Ahmad ibn al-Faraj ibn ‘Umar of Baghdad (482-574 h)
Al-’Umdah min al-Fawa`id wa al-Athar al-Sihah wa al-Ghara`ib, which is more commonly known as, Mashyakhat Shuhdah is the first edition that came out in Egypt 1415 h/1994 c. (Khanji, Cairo). Also, her annotations on Kitab al-Amwal, one of the earliest treatises on finance and property management, by Imam Abu ‘Ubaid al-Qasim ibn Sallam al-Harawi (224 h) can be seen -this is just priceless- on the manuscript of that book. This is also published.
* Maryam bint ‘abd al-Rahman ibn ahmad of Nablus/Damascus (691-758 h).
A section of her own musnad (hadith compilation) was published in Egypt 1989. It contains 24 narratives. The rest of her musnad is still in the world of manuscripts.
* ‘Aishah bint Yusuf ibn Ahmad al-Aa’uniyyah al-Dimashqiyyah (922 h).
Her biography is in al-Kawakib al-Sa`irah of al-Ghazzi. Though, she is a master of the Qur’an, I have not come across any mention of her works in the Qur’anic sciences. I am honored to narrate the following of her works in their entirety:
1. Al-Fath al-Mubin fi Madh al-Amin (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This is a poem celebrating the art of eloquence known as al-Badi’, of which she relates 150 kinds. This poem is published.
2. Al-Mawrid al-Ahna fi al-Mawlid al-Asna is a literary work on the birth of our beloved messenger (salla Allahu ‘alayhiwa sallam). This is also published (though rare).
3. Numerous poems in praise of our Beloved Messenger (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Their names are outlined in my thabat. She has also authored an abridgment of Manazil al-Sa`irin, called Al-Isharat al-Khafiyyah fi al-Manazil al-’Aliyyah.
* Iffat “shah jehan” bint Jehankir, the queen of bohpal (b. 1254 h).
The ‘ornamented crown of India’ assumed the throne at the age of 9. At 22, she assigned the duties of the throne to her mother, while she kept authority and heirship. Nine years later, in 1285, her mother died, and she had full responsibility again. She has a published historical record of the city of Bohpal. She also authored a book on manners for women, as well as a book called Khazinat al-Lughat. Her biography is at the end of the book Abjad al-’Ulum, the third volume, which was authored by her husband, Siddiq ibn Hasan al-Qinnawji al-Husaini (1307 h).
* Fatimah of Nisapur (223 h). Historical narratives indicate that she had majalis (seat of teaching) of Qur’an commentary, though none of the biographical works that document Qur’an scholars mention her.
* Zayn al-Nisa` bint ‘Alamkir (1048-1113 h). She is the daughter of king ‘Alamkir of India, who commissioned the famous al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, that bear his name. She has a tafsir called Zayn al-Tafasir, though not much is known about it. She also authored poetry in Persian, and the biographers indicate that it was collected.
Qur’anic Authorities that are known to have held majalis (seats of teaching) — even if they did not necessarily compile a tafsir.
* Amat al-Wahid bint al-Qadi Husain ibn Isma’il al-Mahamili (377 h).
She was a renowned master of the Qur’an. She had a position to issue fatwa (legal verdicts) during her time.
* Um al-Khayr Fatimah bint ‘Ali ibn al-Muthaffar of Baghdad (533 h).
She was a prolific narrator and an authority on the Qur’an. She held majlis of Qur’an for women.
* ‘Arifat al-Khayr “al-Wajihah” bint Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili.
She was an authority on the seven readings, and she certified people to qualify in the qira’at (Qur’anic readings). She is the daughter of the famous imam Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili.
* Fatimah bint ‘Ayyash ibn abi al-Fath of Baghdad (714 h).
She was a woman of legendary scholarship and repute. She graduated many of the wives of the scholars of her time in the qira’at (Qur’anic readings), as well as other sciences. Her daughter Zaynab, is the one who taught from the minbar. Other narratives indicate that she, herself, also taught from the minbar, as well.
* Wajihiyyah bint ‘ali al-Sa’idiyyah of Alexandria (732 h).
Imam ibn al-Jazari narrates on her authority in his Ghayat al-Nihayah fi Tabaqat al-Qurra, that I cited above. She is a narrative authority on the qira`at, as well as hadith.
*Um al-Khayr bint Ahmad ibn ‘Isa ibn Muhammad al-Mullisawiyyah.
She was born 810 h. she is one of the shaykhat (teachers) of imam Ibrahim ibn ‘Umar al-Biqa’i (809-885 h).
Qura’nic Authorities of whom there are no records as to whether or not they held majalis (seats of teaching).
* Khadijah bint ‘Abd al-Salam “Sahnun” ibn Sa’id (270 h).
She is the daughter of the famous compiler of the Mudawwanah.
* Um Hani Maryam bint ‘ali ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Huriniyyah (871 h).
* ‘Azizah bint Ahmad ibn Auhammad of Tunisia (1080 h).
to name only a few…
Even a cursory glance at bibliographic indexes of modern western women reveals that, for the most part, they seem to be concerned with intelligibly navigating the terrain of identity, not writing about major cosmological issues, much less exegesis.
What we, as Muslim women, do not know is based (primarily) on our lack of connection with our heritage — not that that which we do not know about is absent from it. By contrast — that which we are challenged by others to produce ‘precedent for’, indeed, ‘is’ indeed starkly absent from their own traditions. If a compendium were to just list women scholars of Islam — in all disciplines — it would have to profile nearly ten thousand women. How many women have been connected to exegesis (or any theological writing) in non-Muslim traditions?” See, for example: ‘Women’s Voice: Issues in Contemporary Feminist Theology,’ edited by Teresa Elwes (Marshall Pickering, London, 1992).
The answer to that question has to do with certain cultural realities that govern the lives of women and their worlds — that are just undeniably ‘universal’. The remarkable issue about Muslim women luminaries is that: they were involved in the scholarly pursuit in numbers that are unparalleled in other traditions (and, that’s just historical fact) — AND, they did that all while dealing with the realities of the limitations of their culture and time. For instance: Imam Abu Muhammad ibn Hazm, the famous Andalusian (384-456 h), stated in his renowned Tawq al-Hamamah that he knows so much about the private affairs of women because his first shaykhat (teachers) in Qur’an and hadith were women. The idea that women did most of their work “in private” — however monumental — in relative seclusion (and obscurity) is a point that should not be missed. It is another testament to the majesty with which women endeavor upon their affairs that should be celebrated.
Keeping that last point in mind, it is thus understandable that not a lot is known about the intricate details of the lives of these truly amazing women. (And, I would add that this would hold even more true to any ‘historic’ scholarly women in other traditions).
Furthermore, everything that I have been blessed to share with you in the past has been entirely ’synthesis’ — i.e. it can not just be found in one singular reference.
Speaking of female scholars, do not forget about the release of the new compendium of female scholars Al-Muhadithat: The Women Scholars in Islam, that was recently covered in the NY Times. If you purchase it now, you get a 30% discount.
It’s over, congratulations to all my fellow IB-ers! So last Wednesday was the end of my two years of misery because of the International Baccalaureate [Diploma] Programme. (Click here for the real thing) Well it helped increase my stress level, taught me how to cry and also made hate stupid people. (just kidding bout the last part) After taking this program I don’t think I’ll ever be faced with this much work ever again. I’m still debating whether or not I liked it.
It taught me to manage my time, I had a million deadlines for anything and everything and it was basically up to each individual to get it all done to the best of our abilities and on time or we’d be screwed. There was also the huge difference in teaching methods, I mean I had some really great teachers that I loved, teachers that didn’t do much but still liked them and then there were teachers that did absolutely nothing and I totally hated. The best teacher was definitely our HL Physics teacher; Mr. Gregory Guido. Throughout it all, IB did actually teach me some things, like thinking on the spot, having to make presentations without having a heart attack, and trying to overcome the strong power of procrastination.
I think it was when I finished IB and it really hit me that I will be graduating high school this year! The feelings are pretty weird, I have no idea what I’ve done with my life, I mean life has just gone by so fast I still cant believe that I’m 18 years old but that happened like 3 moths ago. Apparently time is something that we can’t control and something that I’m having much trouble with trying to keep up with, so when I look at my status and age all I can think to myself is, What did I do with my life? Has my whole time here juss been a blur? Have I wasted my time? Have I ever impacted another individual for good or make someone feel special and important, or did my emotions get out the worst of me and make them feel worthless and horrible and has my presence juss make this world a more horrible place than it was before? If you take the time to sit and really think about your own life all that happens is that a series of questions rise up and all we can really do is make du’a, say beiznillah and hope for the best and that we are on the right path.Our time here is so limited, and it’s all passing us by so fast; I guess realizing this just pushes us to try and become a better person, and the sooner we realize this the luckier we are and there is more of a chance that we can change ourselves for the better.
My French teacher is one of those teachers that is very smart and knows much about many things but has some interesting tactics in how to approach students that simply don’t really care, well how are you supposed to approach these kids anyway? Anyway, she always yells at us about how we come off as disrespectful students because of the way we act towards her, the things we do and don’t say and the tone we use while speaking to her. Obviously there is a huge communication barrier between our teacher and us-her students. I mean she is trying to teach us a pretty valuable lesson, right now we’re all in high school and some of the kids still have parents call in and place complaints about what there kids are unhappy about; but pretty soon, actually very soon, we’re all gunna be in college and we have to learn how to defend ourselves, take care of ourselves and be prepared for times when we will be judged on the spot and judged about each thing that we do or don’t do and it will all impact our future.
I’ve been so busy lately with school and exams and trying to get all my studying done that I haven;t had time to do anything. But I remember seeing this commercial and thinking to myself- Wow what the hell is our future going to be if kids like this actually begin to act like this. We’re not that far off, they’re some kids tHaT wRiTe ThEiR eSsAyS lIkE tHiS, or they write formal e-mails like, “hey wuts up i had a ? for u and wanted 2 know if u could help me out.” I mean a girl that told me that her college told her that her e-mail was written so horribly that they took it offensively and greatly impacted whether or not they will accept her and shortly after she received an e-mail saying she was rejected. Honestly, I think the best kids to bother with these things are middle schoolers, I mean as much as I hate that age range it still amuses me when they speck sometimes. So parents, please teach your kids how to speak normally and not sound like they were dropped as a child:
I saw this article on BBC News
Iraq leader says troops must say
US and British troops will need to stay another one or two years in Iraq, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has said.
Mr Talabani was addressing students during a visit to Cambridge University.
Asked when the UK and US should leave, he said: “I think in one or two years we will be able to recruit our own army forces and say goodbye to our friends.”
He added that he considered Prime Minister Tony Blair to be a “hero” and said he hoped Gordon Brown would continue his work.
In the latest violence in Iraq, twin suicide bombings in south-eastern Baghdad have killed 22 people and injured 60. The victims include police officers, Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
The attacks happened on two bridges in the capital which form a key route out of the south of the city.
After a meeting with Mr Blair at 10 Downing Street, Mr Talabani said Mr Blair was a “dear friend” and a “great leader”.
The Iraqi president expressed his sympathy towards the families of British forces killed in his country, who he said had died for a just cause.
He said: “I am very, very sorry for the lives lost in Iraq.”
“I think it was a very noble job that your army and your people did in Iraq.”
Mr Talabani urged US politicians to reconsider plans to begin withdrawing their forces from his country.
On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a draft bill that would provide funding for troops in Iraq only until July.
Mr Talabani told reporters: “We are concerned. We hope that Congress will review this decision and help the American army to stay until the Iraqi army will be able to replace them and to protect the security of Iraq.”
I found this on Mujahideen Ryder’s Blog, I can’t believe something like this is taking place. These corrupt governments make me sick as they destroy lives and continue to give Islam a bad name.